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COVID-19 pandemic: U of T Engineering stories

Professors Lisa Austin (Faculty of Law) and David Lie (ECE) — photographed before COVID-19 struck — are among a team of researchers and legal experts studying the privacy implications and the technology behind exposure notification apps. (Photo: Jessica MacInnis)

Can COVID-19 contact tracing and exposure notification apps protect both your health and your privacy?

Exposure notification apps, such as COVID Alert — to be launched by the Canadian federal government this month — could be key tools for countries as they work to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But as public health officials are evaluating COVID Alert’s efficacy in the fight to stop the spread of the virus, Professor David Lie (ECE) is closely...
A new model, created by Professor Swetaprovo Chaudhuri (UTIAS) and his international collaborators, uses fundamental physics to predict the behaviour of the microscopic droplets that spread the COVID-19 virus. (Photo: Fusion Medical Animation via Unsplash)

Understanding the spread of COVID-19 through physics-based modeling

Professor Swetaprovo Chaudhuri (UTIAS) normally spends his time thinking about the motion of fluids through jet engines. Now, that expertise is being used to understand the spread of COVID-19.  “In aircraft engines, fuel is injected into the combustor in a fine spray of droplets with sizes somewhat similar to what is ejected while coughing or sneezing,” he says. “While the...
From left: Lilian Kabelle (CivE MEng candidate), Marie Merci Ishimwe (ECE MEng candidate) and Ngone Lo (Faculty of Information). The team is building an “engineering think tank” to counteract the impact of COVID-19 in East Africa. (Photos courtesy of Lilian Kabelle)

Students spark new solutions for COVID-19 challenges

As the COVID-19 pandemic rearranged the plans of students across U of T Engineering over the past few months, one question was on many minds: what can I do to help? Now, dozens of students are taking action. The U of T COVID-19 Student Engagement Awards were created to fund inspiring innovations designed to respond to the COVID-19 crisis to...
Eight students from U of T Engineering’s Division of Engineering Science (EngSci) are completing summer research projects with Professor Jonathan Chan, an EngSci alumnus who is now a professor at King Mongkut University of Technology in Thonburi, Thailand. (Photo courtesy Dunja Matic)

What undergraduate summer research looks like in the time of COVID-19

Lauren Streitmatter (Year 2 EngSci) thought she’d be heading to Imperial College London this summer, but the pandemic had other plans. “I was really looking forward to the hands-on experience working in a research lab, as well as going to Europe for the first time,” she says. “After that fell through, I didn’t have many ideas for a new summer...
Clean desk.

New U of T Engineering Academy prepares incoming students to excel in first year

U of T Engineering is launching a new program designed to give incoming students all the material they need to shine in their first-year courses. The University of Toronto Engineering Academy is an optional and not-for-credit program that is free to all incoming students for Fall 2020. Students gain access to a suite of established learning modules in math, physics...
A team led by Professor Leo Chou (IBBME) is pursuing a non-traditional approach that could lead to simpler, faster COVID-19 tests.

New ‘rock candy’ approach could lead to simpler, faster tests for COVID-19

Testing for viruses is not a new science, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the bottlenecks in established methods. Now, a team led by Professor Leo Chou (IBBME) is pursuing a non-traditional approach that, if successful, could lead to simpler, faster tests. “What we are finding out in this pandemic is that surges in global demand can cause every step...
Senior Research Associate Peter Stogios (ChemE) is producing and analyzing viral proteins as part of the Toronto Open Access COVID-19 Protein Manufacturing Centre. (Photo Nick Iwanyshyn)

A U of T Engineering team is manufacturing coronavirus ‘parts’ for COVID-19 research

The structure of SARS-CoV-2 is now all too recognizable, resembling a soccer ball covered in spiky protrusions. A team of U of T researchers are replicating these spikes — and all the other proteins that enable its deadly attack on the human body — in the hopes of speeding up COVID-19 research around the world. “There are about 25 of...
Professor Kamran Behdinan is leading a team to design and manufacture assisted-bag ventilators. (Photo: Pam Walls)

COVID-19: A ‘last resort’ breathing machine prototype heads to clinical trials

U of T Engineering professor Kamran Behdinan (MIE) and a team of researchers at the University Health Network (UHN) are designing a life-saving device they hope never has to be used. The team’s prototype of a low-cost breathing machine — known as a high acuity, limited operability (HALO) ventilator system — is now undergoing clinical testing and could be deployed...
Professor Timothy Chan (MIE) is collaborating with the University Health Network to launch Redeploy, an optimization tool to improve hospital staffing during the pandemic. (Photo: Pam Walls)

U of T Engineering team develops redeployment tool to optimize hospital staffing amid COVID-19

U of T Engineering researchers have developed Redeploy, a tool that optimizes and automates the matching of available staff to jobs that need to be filled throughout the hospital. As the COVID-19 pandemic reaches its peak in Ontario, staffing needs in hospitals in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) have rapidly changed. Researchers, nurses, and other hospital staff may...
The team developing a more sensitive test for COVID-19 (Photo: Alexandros Sklavounos).

Meet the U of T Engineering team developing an on-the-go test for COVID-19

A team led by Professor Warren Chan (IBBME, Donnelly Centre) is developing an automated, more sensitive and rapid test for COVID-19 to help curb the pandemic. The current global lockdown only made their resolve to continue with their research stronger. “It is very rewarding being able to work with everyone and do something that is contributing to this and future...

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